Averklub Collective is a loosely organized group with no fixed structure. Its core is constituted by several residents of the Chanov housing estate, which is considered to be the largest Roma settlement in the Czech Republic. The collective expands and contracts as it sees fit, adapting with various configurations of artists, theorists, and activists depending on current projects and needs.
Manuš Means Human takes its title from Vincent Danihel’s eponymous 1986 book, which analyzes the policy of Roma integration in Czechoslovakia. In order to outline possible models of equality that are universal, transnational, and go beyond identity politics, the exhibition looks into successes and failures of Roma emancipation policies during socialism more generally, but also more concretely through the specific history of the Chanov housing estate.
The selection of historical and contemporary artworks presented in Manuš Means Human explores possibilities and impossibilities of producing art in scarce material conditions and the ways in which Roma artists address topics of work, poverty, housing, and the physical environment, as well as political organization and emancipation, thus weaving counternarratives to their persistent exoticization by mainstream culture. By touching upon key historical moments, such as the First World Romani Congress held in London in 1971, and presenting personal accounts of several generations of Chanov residents, the exhibition addresses the self-organization of Roma in fighting social exclusion, entrenched poverty, and widespread racism, from a decidedly non-elitist point of view.